Here’s a -not imaginary- scenario. You heard a lot about Cyprus. You decided to spend this year’s August holidays in this intriguing country. After asking your friends who came before, you felt that Nicosia should be the starting point. And there you are, landing at Larnaca airport in the evening, hopping in the van or taxi which drives you directly to your hotel’s door. It’s very late, you feel like taking a shower and going to bed so that you wake up full of energy. In the morning, you enjoy your colourful Mediterranean breakfast in the lounge, observing the people passing outside the hotel. Now you are ready. You step out of your hotel. And then you feel it. It’s burning! The digital monitor of the pharmacy on the opposite side of the street reveals the situation you have to cope with: 38ο, 11.00. And what will happen at 14.00? Yes. For travellers from Moscow or Edinburgh it could look like a scene from an apocalyptic movie but for mid-summer Nicosia it’s a common situation with which locals and travellers cope with. And, actually, by smartly adapting your activity, you can transform Nicosia into an oasis in the middle of the burning island! Here is an ideal journey for all of you not willing to spend your day in your room
Homemade lemon juice at “Tria Fanaria’’ café
In Nicosia, every hot day starts or goes on with a traditional Cypriot lemon juice, made with homemade lemon syrup, diluted with cold water and boosted with thick ice cubes. A bottle of lemon juice exists in every Cypriot fridge! One of the most picturesque places to enjoy your lemon juice in the old city is the “Tria Fanaria’’ café, which in Greek means “The Three Lamp Posts’’. Opened in 1952, situated on the square behind “Faneromeni’’ church, next to the impressive building of “Parthenagogio’’, with lots of sun umbrellas creating the shadow you were looking for, it’s a place you will love. The café also offers a variety of delicious local pastries like olive and cheese pies and sweets. “Mia lemonada parakalo!’’.
3, Mouson St., Old Nicosia, tel.: +357 22664706
Chilling out at the Municipal Swimming Pool
You might be aware that Nicosia is the only big city without a seafront. Though, it doesn’t lack swimming possibilities! Several hotels in Nicosia have a swimming pool but we’d suggest you to live an authentic experience with locals in the Municipal Swimming Pool or ‘’Lellos’ swimming pool’’ as it is known among Nicosia residents by the name of a popular ex-mayor of the city. The main Olympic Municipal Swimming Pool and the three smaller pools for children, all monitored by lifeguards, are surrounded by high eucalyptus, palm and walnut trees as well as bougainvillea, which, in combination with the green grass, set a dreamy scenery for some chilling moments and fun. If you want to socialize, well that’s also a place for you, given that the pool is kind of an agora for locals, where you can hear them chatting about politics and sports. You can also buy yourself a coffee or a snack from the cafeteria. The swimming pool is 16’ on foot from Ledras’ pedestrian zone. It’s open from 10.00 to 19:00 daily, from early May to late September. Entrance fees, varying according to age, are also very reasonable.
6,Louki Akrita St., Ayios Andreas, tel.: +357 22797646
Eat like a local at “Evroulla’s’’ restaurant
While swimming, you may start dreaming of a shadowed, nice spot to enjoy a quality lunch. Just walk down Onasagorou Street, the “twin sister” of Ledras Street, from Eleftherias Square and look on your left for the tiny roofed walkway “Stoa Klokkari’’. In there, you will find “Evroulla’s’’ restaurant. You’ve just discovered one of Old Nicosia’s semi-outdoor gems where the heat is magically expelled! A rich lunch menu is available, comprising lots of traditional Cypriot recipes, varying from light legumes (try their amazing “louvi’’ beans dish and the lentils with rice) to all time classic meat options (their “sheftalia’’ meatballs are among the best in Nicosia). It gets easily full but people come and go, so you may have to wait only for a while to get your table. Prices will also surprise you.
Stoa Klokkari, Old Nicosia, tel.: +357 22 665346
The Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia
Now the senses and the imagination are activated. But also the need for some air conditioning has naturally risen. A museum could challenge your imagination and offer you the breeze you seek! The amazing Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia is located only 1’ from “Evroulla’s’’ restaurant and it invites you to a fascinating journey through history, from 3.000 BC to the present. In the 19th c. neoclassical building, you can explore the ancient civilizations of the island, the establishment of the Byzantines, the arrival of the Franks and the Venetians from the West, then the Ottomans from the East and the imposition of the British Rule. The journey continues from the 60s until today. Especially this year, you have the opportunity to visit the “Nicosia: The birth and growth of a capital. Byzantine-Medieval period’’ temporary collection which showcases the historical course of Nicosia as capital of Cyprus since the 10th c. Visiting hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 -16:30.
15-17, Hippocrates St., Laiki Yitonia, tel.: +35722661475
Catch the next movie at “Konstantia’’ Open Air Cinema
What if after all we invited you to a marathon? Don’t worry, it’s not about running. It’s about taking a comfortable seat while the heat goes down, letting everything go and diving into the magic evening atmosphere of the Summer Movie Marathon at the “Konstantia’’ Open Air Cinema. From 11/7 to 9/9 and from Wednesday to Sunday, at 21.00, enjoy films from all around the world, with only 5€ per time or a 50€ entrance card for the whole marathon. Entrance is also free for children below 10 years old. Especially if you have never been to an open air cinema before, you will soon realize that it’s much more than just the movies…
15, Solonos Michaelides St., tel.: 22348203
Cocktails and platter dinner at “Korniza Baroque’
It’s been a long day. Gather your memories and transform them into the inspiration always needed to choose a cocktail out of an exquisite list of options. “Korniza Baroque’’, is among the most atmospheric bars to end such a day. Take a seat in the yard with view to the hamam, the mosque with the minaret, the clear summer night sky full of stars and, if you are lucky, a slice of or even a full moon. Let yourself into the Ottoman past of the city while holding your special cocktail (mojito and Hendrick’s gin with tonic and cucumber recommended) and picking halloumi, dried smoked pork tenderloin slices and Cypriot pitta.
9, Soutsou St., Old Nicosia, tel.: +357 22104077